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Sevens – Kinesthetic Crashes

January 3, 2019   General Enneagram   

Sevenish pain control is a kind of sublimation and, when Sevens reframe away their pain, it still goes somewhere. While pain is not exactly a thing or a stored commodity, some Sevens are nevertheless prone to “kinesthetic crashes” when, after a period of flying high, their suppressed painful feelings catch up to them. This is not unlike the mythical character Icarus, who flew so high that the sun melted the wax binding his artificial wings and he crashed back to earth.

Some Sevens express this up-and-down pattern through persistent bouts of “normal” illness. They could, for instance, catch cold easily or reliably come down with the flu or whatever is going around each season. Others play out the pattern in relation to a chronic physical condition; while the physical condition is real the Seven filters the ailment through the script of their style. One Seven was slowed down by arthritis in his hip; the ailment pinned him to his chair at work, grounding him on the one hand – he was literally unable to run away – but also making him feel trapped and desperate. He took refuge in occasional flights of mental fancy and, to the irritation of his assistant, an ungrounded inattention to detail.

Other Sevens crash-land into their emotions rather than their physical feelings, maybe by getting depressed and spending the weekend alone or by periodically going to pieces. One cheerful, active extraverted Seven was abruptly rejected by his girlfriend and sank into an upset state for several months. For a time he locked himself in his room, stayed in bed and stared at the ceiling, often crying. When he recovered, he created a new business and shifted back into a hyperactive mode, leaving himself no time for interiority. A few years later, another woman left him and he went through the same sequence of collapse and resurrection.

One way to think about these ups and downs is that the Seven’s feelings are speaking. Sevens tend to skate over their feelings in favor of the visual and auditory parts of their sensory experience. When Sevens are busy and out in the world they are in “uptime,” with all their senses externally focused, fleeing their inner pain into outer activity, possibly until they exhaust themselves. After flying too long or too high they crash into both their emotions and body sensations. This is like the Seven’s feelings asserting themselves, getting them to slow down, digest their experience and take care of themselves. But the pattern is self reinforcing: after spending time uncomfortably stuck in negative feelings the Seven wants to escape even more, which sets up the next cycle of flying and crashing.

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